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Interview: Chris Fortier
by Eli Wilkie & Steve Porter: 07-25-2007

Chris Fortier takes some time off from his busy schedule to chat with two of our favorite DJs, Eli Wilkie and Steve Porter:

Can you give us a description of your studio setup?

I have two different systems. I have a studio setup and a road setup. The pretty much mirror themselves in terms of computer and software. And it enables me to move from each system with ease without ever losing power or access to sounds.

Studio:
Mac G5 Dual Quad
Mackie 1604
Mackie HR824
Protools Digi002
Ableton Live
Roland SH201
Roland MC-505
Novation Supernova 2
Native Instruments Komplete

Road:
Mac G5 Black Power Book
Novation X-Station
Ableton Live
Native Instruments Komplete

How long did you arrange and produce this album, was it something that has been in the works for years, or something more of a condensed project that resulted from your heavy studio time?

The idea of starting a project like this, of this magnitude, is something I have had in mind the last couple years. So the end of 2005, I started to get more serious about it and setup a timeline to work in. The goal was to dedicate all of 2006 to writing as many tracks as I could and then evaluate what I had musically at the end of that term. Most of the writing was done during this time, often times having 5 or so tracks on the go at once, bouncing between them on a daily and sometimes hourly basis. Within that period I wanted to write as much as possible and go back after to see if I had a subconscious concept threading through the tracks or just a bunch of random tracks. I was hoping for the former. I really didn’t now what I had in terms of continuity until the end of last year when for the first time I sat and listened through all the tracks back to back.

So you started a label on one of your nicknames, 40oz. What is your favorite type of 40oz malt liquor?

Actually no. It is some name someone called me at an after, afterparty. I think it was just this person playing with my last name and also pointing out the fact that we, or I, was pretty drunk. The people standing there with us latched onto it and ran with it for a while. I only started using it a couple years ago in the essence of abbreviation really of all the re-edits I was doing for my sets.

Do you plan to release any of the tracks off of your album on 40oz? What else is upcoming on the label?

Generally I have always been comfortable with putting my name on my music. I never had a desire to have an alias or whatever. But over the last few years, I have increasingly seen people make auto assumptions about music and artists based on their name and what they think they know about that artist or dj. Making these assumptions often times without hearing the music and just looking at things on paper. It was a bit disheartening, so in the essence of trying to get the music I was doing as a solo artist out without the pre-conceived notions, I did an experiment to put out some tracks and remixes as 40oz and see if I could get past this whole thing and have people judge the music for what it is and not for what they think it is going to be. It was really to try to prove a point, but I did also like the idea of having a clean slate to build upon too. The 40oz stuff and my own named stuff really is one in the same. They are not different musical vibes or sounds, so I don’t see doing an album as 40oz solely. Especially if most people now know we are one in the same. The first releases did prove my point to people, who didn’t connect the dots, but now the names are interchangeable and sometimes I am using them both together. I don’t want to say I will never do it, but I have no plans. But I have done a number of other secret projects under other names and I plan to explore them further while not letting on they are me.

You prefer vinyl over cd, how are records selling from the label? Do you plan on cutting down on the number of records cut?

Well, I don’t know if we are a good judgment of that. The reason I say that is that we have been plagued by closures of distribution companies. Firstly our main one closed last year and then all of our small secondary ones had either closed before this or after too. So we have been left without a concrete distribution outlet we can trust. We tried working with a UK company we had worked well with in the past, but things have changed a lot for them recently too and I found them useless. So we are back to a smaller grassroots thing working with a small distribution company, but one that works hard to sell vinyl because they care about it and its existence. The sales are moderate, but it is very important to me to continue to press vinyl for the label, especially since I play almost all vinyl still myself. I don’t have the label as a financial source of income; it is a creative outlet for me within the music. I put out records I like and believe in, not records that might sell a lot. So whether we sell 1 or 10,000, I am content with getting music I like out to people looking for the same thing.

Who are some of the producers that you are into these days?

The music is ever changing, so favorites are always changing. People get hot and create a fresh direction that is what I am looking for. I would say I love consistency all the while experimenting, and it comes from a lot of the same guys been doing it for years. Of course, Carl Craig, Andrew Weatherall, Oliver Ho, Alexi Delano, Matthew Dear, Jesse Rose, Quitepoint, Josh Wink, and Someone Else

What is your favorite venue right now internationally?

I have a lot of favorite places around the world. Hard to compare them though since they can be quite individualistic. But a couple are Barcelona, Buenos Aires, Mexico City and Tokyo to name a few.

What's the trick to longevity in this industry?

Care about what you are doing. And put that care into the highest effort to play your best and be your best every night. If you follow your heart musically, and handle with care, you can have a lot of choices and opportunities. It is then key to be ready for those opportunities and choose wisely.

Is it easy to become burnt out having such a crazy DJ schedule for so many years?

Yes, most definitely. But that is where the passion for it all has to be there. All the heavy travel and b.s. You might have to go through to get to gigs and such all are worth in the end when you put the first record on in a packed club. The traveling is the hardest part. It can be grueling, especially when you travel alone (no entourage). I think it very important to have systems in place to give you breaks during the year. Breaks where you can take a weekend or two off here and there to set your mind at ease. And that is something I have been doing the last few years for sure.

Are you into foreign cuisine when you travel internationally? Or do you usually search for the nearest McDonalds?

That is something you decide on from city to city really. Some destinations or restaurants you can trust, but getting food poison or sick from local cuisine is very common because sometimes your body is just not used to the food or spices or whatever. The last thing you want to have is being sick just before going into the club. It has happened to me and it is not easy or pretty. I wouldn’t say I do McDonalds, but I may go with the standards, especially room service. Better safe then sorry as they say.

If you didn't pursue your passion for music, what activity would be taking up all of your time right now?

I would probably be working in the surfing industry. I grew up surfing my whole life and when I started college I really thought I would end up either rep’ing a big surf company or have my own company. So my guess is that, but I have never had another job outside music accept for when I was in high school.

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